Wayne senior sprinter delivers as needed

It’s good to have options for Wayne senior Zarik Brown. The latest in a long run of outstanding Warriors sprinters and hurdlers, Brown delivered a season-ending preview during Friday’s 22nd annual Wayne track and field invitational.

Or maybe not.

“We’ve talked a lot about what we could do for state,” he said after accounting for four firsts. “We’ll just see what happens.”

The regular season already is winding down with most conference meets in the next two weeks. The Wayne Invite drew most of the top teams in the Southwest and Central (Columbus) districts in what Springfield 300 hurdles winner Austin Tyree labeled “a mini state meet.”

Brown was unbeatable during the two-day event. Running into a stiff head wind on the home stretch, he won the 100 meters (11.08) and the 200 (21.35). He also overcame a five-meter deficit to anchor the 400 relay to another win (42.17). He capped off a magnificent effort by anchoring the 1,600 relay to a first in the final running event (3:22.32).

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Wayne won the boys team title, 89-63 over runner-up Olentangy Orange. Mason won the 1,600 relay, the final girls running event, and edged runner-up Lakota East 66.33-64 to take the girls team title. Gahanna Lincoln (61.5) was third. The massive invite drew 48 teams.

As good as Brown was, he didn’t run in likely his best event, the 400. Instead, Springfield Shawnee junior Robie Glass blazed to a 47.97 to win the one-lapper.

Determining which events Brown will run in the upcomig district and regional meets will determine Wayne’s best shot at a boys state title since the Warriors last won in 2000.

“He’s special,” Wayne coach Mike Fernandez said. “We made some decisions at the state indoor meet (which Wayne won) by sacrificing him in some individual events and putting him in relays. We have some decisions to make. The whole idea is what can we do as a team when we get to (state at) Columbus and that’s the biggest thing. But, we do have some options.”

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• Centerville senior Yariel Soto is recovering from a leg strain and was limited to a second in the long jump (23 feet), although he soared well past that but fouled. He’s the defending Division I state champion in the long jump and pole vault.

Butler junior Dalton Shepler cleared 15-6 on his first attempt to win the pole vault and missed three times at 16-2. Greenville junior Riley Hunt was just as impressive, clearing 13-2 in winning the girls pole vault.

Centerville sophomore Emma Bucher set a meet record in winning the 3,200 (10:27.60).

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• Oakwood freshman Grace Hartman zoomed to the top of the D-II 1,600 leader board by winning her specialty (5:01.18). A former tennis ace, Hartman was boxed in through 300 meters, pushed the pace on the second and third laps and beat an outstanding field that didn’t include Beavercreek junior and distance standout Taylor Ewert

“There were a lot of good girls running in this race and I just wanted to go into it with a good attitude,” Hartman said. “I was a little surprised. I’m really happy with it. It means a lot.”

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Hartman also was second (10:40.35) to Bucher in the 3,200.

• Troy junior Lenea Browder swept the girls shot put (43-4.50) and discus (152-2). No surprise in that; she’s the defending D-I state champ in the shot and was runner-up at state last season in the discus.

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